5 days in Southern China
The trip consisted of a lot of driving and very touristy towns, but I can't deny that we saw a lot. Strangely, I think my favorite part of the trip was all the driving we did because we got to sit and be lazy (everyone was exhausted) and look at the beautiful countryside scenery. We arrived in Kunming (capital of Yunnan) late on Sunday and we drove to Lijiang early Monday. The trip was nine hours but we split it up by stopping in Da Li along the way. I think despite its very touristy market feeling it was my favorite town. We ate lunch there and went shopping. The whole town was surrounded by mountains and the sky was a deep blue that day with big puffy clouds casting shadows over the mountains. That combined with the warm weather (which just became warm over night two weeks ago) made the whole experience really pleasant. We then arrived in Lijiang for dinner where we selected veggies etc to be fried up and were ripped off by the owners who decided on a ridiculous price. Tuesday we went to a snow mountain where there were some yaks in a field that looked like it was from Lord of the Rings. The altitude was very high and Emily and I had to walk really slowly in order to not run out of breath. It also rained heavily allowing me to sport my attractive neon yellow emergency poncho. It stopped raining and we saw this pretty lake. Yunnan has a lot of pretty lakes with clear water that come as a shock because the water in Beijing is so disgusting. Oh, we also went to our first minority village that day. Yunnan has a higher concentration of minorities than other areas of China. We went to a Bai minority village. I found all of them to be rather touristy and it was hard to decipher how they really lived from shows put on for tourists. The village was also surrounded by mountains making it a nice place to explore and there were tons of cats hanging around. After the village we went to another lake and then to a pretty park with a lake. Finally we went to LiJiang old city which was actually just a huge touristy market. At least these markets are outdoors. The old city was a lot less sketchy than the new city where we were ripped off buying dinner. Wednesday we went to another nice park with a path surrounded by bamboo, a fountain, and another nice lake. There was also one of those butterfly gardens where you go in and there are all those butterflies. It was bigger than the one at the museum of science but all of the butterflies were the same species. We then headed back to the Da Li area and looked at a wealthy minority family home. This was followed by a tea ceremony where we tried three different kinds of tea while people danced (rather unhappily) with costumes on. The first tea was plain, the second was sweet and supposedly had yak cheese in it, and the third was the first tea that i ever actually liked a lot. It tasted like a fireball sucker. I don't know why I liked it so much the concept is kind of gross. We drove the rest of the day to ChuXiang, the touristy town representing the Yi minority (the minority of our tourguide). We ate dinner there and watched a dance and then danced around a fire pit as the minorities do. On Thursday we went to the stone forest which was a park with really tall rock structures. We then went to this crazy "flower market" which sold lots of foods and random other stuff and was set up like a maze so you couldn't get out without buying something. They had free samples stacked with MSG to get you hooked. I, being me, got out without buying something. On Friday we flew back to Beijing and stayed at Michelle's house in the suburbs and made annies mac &cheese and I don't care that this and many of my other sentences are run-on sentence.